Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on January 23, 2018
Tarot Conversation January 23, 2018 – The Judgement
Phillip and Joel were present
We began by invoking the inspiration of Mary-Sophia through the prayer-eurythmy of the Hail Mary.
We then went through the Lord’s Prayer in the Sephiroth, and the Divine Alphabet with references to the Grail Knight’s practice up through the 20th letter, Resh.
We returned to the sequence we left off with last time, the path from Gnosis to Sared Magic:
– The transition from Gnosis to Sacred Magic involves a turning point with the 4th in the sequence, Force. We see that the upper three are all royalty, grand figures. They are grounded, seated. Each has an implement (book, staff, sword + scales). They are in stark contrast to the bottom three, who are youthful, mobile, increasingly stripped of outer garment.
– We spoke last time of the transition from meditation that is of the nature of concentrated thought to that which is more dream-like, image rich. We can see that transition displayed here. The upper three have more of this quality of thought/concentration and the lower three more the mobile quality of dream-imagination. Force plays the role of opening up the region of images, imagination.
– The High Priestess and her different accoutrements. The veil above her is a boundary between her and heaven that allows for reflection. It makes one think of the moment in a dream that it becomes lucid – what is it that allows consciousness to arise in a dream?
All of the High Priestess’s features speak to the ideal act of image made conscious in fullness. The book is a picture book; the ideal of images present to consciousness so clearly that it is as though they were in a book.
– On the one hand we could say that our dream life must change, that our dreams must become book-like, less chaotic; or we could say that it is we who must change, we must learn how to read in order for our dreams to become a conscious experience and not chaotic.
– The images have an intrinsic, organic validity to them. Describing them rationally is inadequate.
– Is there another layer of Yod He Vau He within the paths themselves? So in this case: High Priestess=Yod, Pope=First He, Justice=Vau, Force=Second He? In the High Priestess, she is alone, the lone act of mysticism. Then in the Pope, it is being codified in a group setting, with a congregation—it is becoming true gnosis.
– The transition from the book in the High Priestess’s lap to the blue gateway of the Pope’s robes gives us a preview of the living, elemental quality that we transition to in the bottom three cards (Temperance, Star, Judgement). That is in a way the theme of this path in miniature, from mere Book (concentrated thought) to a gateway to an elemental realm (Living Imagination).
– Justice would then be Vau, Sacred Magic. She is like the Empress, the primal Vau. Is Justice the one who brings order to the dream? There is a process unfolding here. With the High Priestess we are presented with the process of entering into the dream state, or the preparation that goes beforehand. With the Pope we are shown the dream state itself, in which we are normally just passive recipients. In our normal dream life we are passive recipients both of what we perceive as well as our will impulses—our ego is not present there in the same way it is in waking life. This is the difference between the normal dream and the dream in which we are fully conscious, the presence of our Ego. This is what we see happening with Justice, where we wake up to our ego-presence and become actors in the dream and not just passive recipients.
Force is like the first act performed in the dream world—a taking hold of the life of images, of fantasy. The bottom three cards of Temperance, The Star and Judgement are then the unfolding activity within the dream-life, leading ultimately to a deed of Sacred Magic.
We see in these bottom cards an access to fluid, to a realm of water. First in Temperance it is between the pitchers, then in the Star it is in the river below, then in Judgement in the clouds above. Here we have an expression of the interaction between the two wills, the Divine Will and the Human Will. In Temperance, a line of communication is established between above and below. In The Star, it is a matter of pouring out one’s personal will in order to make a space for the Divine above to flow in. In the Judgement, the Divine Will pours itself out into the space created in The Star, the response from the spiritual world.
– In the Sequence High Priestess, Pope, Justice we have a perfect expression of a phrase from the Knight’s Practice: “Mastery of the free reign of ardent fantasy.” Is this a mastery of the fantasy itself, the images themselves? Or of one’s own chaotic impulses within that fantasy life which affect it? What is the nature of that genesis and metamorphosis of the fantasy?
When we look at the rest of the meditation, we see that it is all tied up with memory and resurrection:
Honey—Memory as Resurrection
Mastery of the free reign of ardent fantasy
Leads to the resurrection of deeds and experiences
Which in the past, from consciousness
Of the undisturbed unity of the Godhead, Humanity and Nature
In the heights, in the depths, and in the stream of time
Created the true happiness of humanity in consecrated earth existence.
Memory=Gnosis, High Priestess. The Book of the Akasha, of Cosmic Memory. As Resurrection=Sacred Magic, Judgement.
This meditation is expressing the fact that when we achieve Lunar Imagination, when ardent fantasy is mastered, we have access to the Cosmic Memory of Paradise (the undisturbed unity of the Godhead, Humanity, and Nature). With High Priestess, Pope, and Justice, we see the mastery of ardent fantasy taking place. Then in Force a realm is opened up—the realm of Temperance, The Star, and Judgement, the realm of the re-awakening of the primal unity of Paradise. These three cards could be taking place in Paradise itself, the Judgement as the Creation of Man. The Judgement is both Alpha and Omega, the Last Things as well as the First Things. The flow of the waters=waters above and below the firmament, or the Spirit of God brooding over the Waters.
This sequence has two YHVH: 2, 5, 8, 11 and 11, 14, 17, 20. Each of these, in numerology is a sequence of 2, 5, 8, 2.
High Priestess/Force = 2
Pope/Temperance = 5
Justice/The Star = 8
Force/Judgement = 2
There is a unity and an echoing among these cards that couldn’t have originated in a human mind. It is a completely organic wholeness (in particular, we are noticing here the connections between Justice and The Star).
This sequence alone could be fleshed out into an entire book in and of itself.
– Have we found a key to navigating the Minor Arcana? Is there a connection here between the four suits and the paths we have found?
Path from Yod (Mysticism) to He (Gnosis) = Magician, Emperor, Chariot, Wheel of Fortune, Death, Tower of Destruction, Sun. The Path of Moral Purification leading to clarity of thought.
Path from He (Gnosis) to Vau (Sacred Magic) = High Priestess, Pope, Justice, Force, Temperance, Star, Judgement. Path of Clarity of Thought to Imaginative Activity.
Path from Vau (Sacred Magic) to He (Hermeticism) = Empress, Lover, Hermit, Hanged Man, Devil, Moon, Fool. We will discover the nature of this path next time, but we already have glimmerings.
This is a path of spiritual development, of spiritual practice. It’s quite practical, as it draws forth from us our own spiritual experiences, shortcomings, successes, musings—but it gathers them together in a way that is very powerful, very interesting.
The Arcana have the effect of organizing our mundane memories and experiences into something that can be powerful. The Arcana give the chaos of our personal baggage a structure.
– The 20th Arcanum is the end of the story, as we pointed out last week. What does it correspond to in terms of the Lord’s Prayer Course/Grail Knight’s Practice? The 6th saying from the Cross, “Son, behold thy Mother; Mother, behold thy Son.”
The Fool = “It is Fulfilled.”
The World = “For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever Amen.”
– With The Magician, we compared the Arcanum to the moment of Conception; with the High Priestess, we saw Gestation; with the Empress, we saw Birth. So the Path from Gnosis to Sacred Magic is also the Path from Gestation to Birth. We see this in the Path from High Priestess to Judgement, with a fuller expression of that transition from Gestation to Birth. The Judgement = Birth on a higher level. This perspective on this sequence of images makes one think of the path of attaining continuity of consciousness laid out in How to Know Higher Worlds, in which a birth of a second self must occur in a very real sense; and one must “build the hut” (the Temple of Sophia), a point of orientation for actively navigating the spiritual world.
– Does this sequence from High Priestess to Judgement move from Oldest to Youngest? The figures seem to become more and more youthful as the sequence goes on.
– Looking at this Arcanum from the perspective of human development:
Magician = Moment of Conception (descent of the Spirit Seed)
High Priestess = Gestation (weaving in the etheric from the stars)
Empress = Moment of Birth
Emperor = Unfolding of the Physical Body (0-7)
Pope = Unfolding the Etheric Body (7-14)
Lover = Unfolding of the Astral Body (14-21)
Chariot = Unfolding of the Sentient Soul (21-28)
Justice = Unfolding of the Mind Soul (28-35)
Hermit = Unfolding of the Consciousness Soul (35-42)
Wheel of Fortune = Unfolding of Spirit Self (42-49)
Force = Unfolding of Spirit Life (49-56)
Hanged Man = Unfolding of Spirit Man (56-63)
Death = Moment of Death
Temperance = Etheric Tableau
Devil = 40 Days in the Wilderness
Tower of Destruction = Kamaloka/Moon Sphere
Star = Mercury Sphere/realm of Soul Light
Moon = Venus Sphere/realm of Active Soul Force
Sun = Sun Sphere/realm of Soul Life
Judgement = Mars Sphere/Physical Archetypes in Devachan.
Steiner speaks of the Sun Sphere being a realm in which, as long as we have united with Christ on Earth, we can find Lucifer in his true form, as Christ’s Brother. He becomes our guide in the region he truly belongs to—Spiritland/Devachan. We see this represented in the 19th Arcanum, The Sun, where to two brothers are together—we could see them as Christ and Lucifer in peace, as comrades.
Then we move to the Judgement, which shows us the Mars Sphere. Here we find the archetypes for the physical realm in the material world. We see clearly the connection between the Mars Chakra and the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven,” the petition that relates to the Resurrection Body. The Resurrection Body is the true, living archetype of our material body.
With the entry of the human being into the Mars Sphere, we enter a realm of resounding Word and Tone, of the Harmonies of the Spheres. In Kamaloka, all is dim and silent. As we move into the upper realms of the Soul World (Mercury, Venus, Sun), it is like the Sun is rising and clouds are parting. We come into an experience of vivid living Light. But it is only with the Mars Sphere, with Spirit Land that we come into a realm of Tone. Here we see in the Judgement the Trumpet of the Spirit raising the physical from the grave (see: https://www.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA/index.php?ga=GA0140).
With The Fool and The World, we have the path to Saturn, to the Midnight Hour. Then the Minor Arcana are the path back from the Father to the moment of Conception. We see this, in that the Ace of Coins is like a geometric reduction of The World, while the Ace of Batons is like an idealized mirror image of the Magician. The Ace of Batons is what we intended in the spiritual, and the Magician is what can actually take place in reality—the difference between Image and Likeness. The Prince and the Pauper.
– The Judgement also relates to the sixth saying from the Cross, which is addressed to John Zebedee and Mary. The Mars Sphere is the realm of Buddha who was sent there by Christian Rosenkreuz (who was united with John Zebedee). The John Zebedee/St Francis individuality works from Mars along with the Buddha—he was Ananda in a past life, very close to both Buddha and the Maitreya (Mahakasyapa, another student of Buddha). A question arises for us here: what is the connection between the Resurrection Body/the archetypal Physical with these individualities and spiritual guides?
– Looking to next time, the Path from The Empress to The Fool. The Path of The Fool will be very different. Just reviewing the Arcana in the mind’s eye, we can see a descent into torture, isolation, madness—culminating with The Fool. This is the Path from Sacred Magic to Hermeticism.
The Fool could be related to St. Anthony, who made an art of learning, of imitation of the virtues he admired in those around him. An art of loving. The Fool = Hermeticism. The Perennial Tradition wandering through history in un-recognized forms, not as a fixed and finished dogma. Charles Upton’s characterization of Tradition, that each authentic religious tradition is a means of accessing the Godhead, the Unlimited, they are not ends in themselves.
– The uniting of the two wills: this uniting can only take shape through a gradual re-shaping and adjustment of the human being to make room for the higher will. They come together increasingly, but gradually, not suddenly. The Fool has been stripped away of all things that don’t enable him to love.
The ability to remain completely in flux is the essence of the resurrection body (this is described in detail in the 20th Letter/Meditation, eg p 577). A realm of Water! There isn’t a fixed end point, but a mutable and mobile one.
– What of the path from the Emperor to the World? From Hermeticism to…? The 5th Element, Shin, the Fire of Love, the Godhead manifesting in the Personality? Here we come to something alchemical. The Personality is the 5th element, meaning it is the transforming agent. It is the Personality that alchemically transforms the World, Spiritual, Human and Natural.
The Minor Arcana might show us the path from Hermeticism back towards Mysticism. The Major Arcana are the path of descent of a Tradition, from Mysticism to Gnosis, to Sacred Magic then Hermeticism. What must be accomplished first within and then through an individual in order to establish a sacred Tradition.
The path from Emperor to The World might show us the beginnings of this other Path, from Hermeticism back to Mysticism. It is interesting to note that this path is very similar to the Path from Mysticism to Gnosis, except that it doesn’t begin with The Magician, and it ends with the World:
Magician, Emperor, Chariot, Wheel of Fortune, Death, Tower of Destruction, Sun
Emperor, Chariot, Wheel of Fortune, Death, Tower of Destruction, World
Is this the path that the student of Hermeticism must take in order to transmute the dead letter of knowledge that he receives from the teacher into a living inner experience?
This is what we are discovering how to do here. In fact, that which is expressed in the sequence from High Priestess to Judgement, in which ardent fantasy is mastered and ordered, has occurred to us tonight: we have discovered that the Arcana are the organizing agent that take our experiences and memories and elevate them out of a mundane chaos into a powerful and inspiring whole. We do not just read the Arcana, but experience that which we are reading.
Perhaps this is the connection between Resurrection Body and CR/Buddha/St Francis. The Arcana are like being inside of the fluid, endlessly mobile Resurrection Body of CR. When we learn how to weave and move within these images, we too are creating a fluid resurrection body within ourselves.
The Arcana as a whole have the same quality as the Resurrection Body, in that they contain every possibility within them, depending on how they are arranged. They are like fractals in nature, the same thing repeating itself endlessly, yet with variation. The goal is not to come to an ultimate understanding of the Tarot, but to learn how to become as wholistic and mobile as they are. Our conversations have this quality, the same quality that one finds in Meditations on the Tarot, that we are taken into a realm of mobility and life, rather than a fixed realm.
We ended with the closing of the Grail Knight’s Practice.